This collection of 8 films of more than 5 hours viewing time was made in Dublin local community contexts between the late 1990s and 2017 by the freelance film maker and visual artist Joe Lee. Joe has long standing working relationships with local communities in the city, in particular in the Dublin postcodes of 8, 7, 3 and 1. All of the films feature a wide range of interviews with local people and rich visual material that recounts social histories of community life in the continually changing story that is Dublin city.
The subjects covered in the films include stories about the origins, traditions, occupations and reality of housing conditions in various parts of the inner city. They also explore local myth and lore and in one film 'The Area' older peoples relationship with dance and the city.
Overshadowing many of the films is the much darker story of the Dublin drugs epidemics of the 1980s and 90s and community responses to dealing with this tragic legacy.
The making of many of these films arose out of local regeneration projects or organisations like the CityWide Network seeking to tell their story. Other films in the Collection arose out of collaborations with artists like Ríonach Ní Néill or community development workers such as Rita Fagen, Fidelma Bonass and Éadaoin Ní Chléirigh in Inchicore and the North West Inner City. Funding for the projects came from a mix of local community sources or arts funding and residencies through Dublin City Council and the Arts Council but also through self funding models as in the case of ‘Fortune Wheel’ and sometimes funding for the projects was a combination of all of the above.
This series of 8 community based films by Joe Lee set in Dublin city neighbourhoods presents a unique picture of and insight into the social history of the city.
High resolution versions of the films are available by clicking 'Download Asset' under the embedded video files of each object.
CV Joe Lee
Joe Lee graduated from the National College of Art and Design as a Fine Art Printmaker in the early 1980s. He has worked predominately as an independent film and video maker since then, directing film and television documentaries in a range of art and production contexts. In recent years he has focused on his visual arts practice and his photomontage work in particular.
Joe’s video installation ‘Open Season’ 1997 from the exhibition ‘Once Is Too Much’ is in the permanent collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. He has exhibited print and video artworks in various exhibitions, winning awards at the Exhibition of Visual Art (EVA) Limerick in 1979 and in 2003.
Alongside Joe's community based film projects he has directed, arts documentary films ‘Heartfield’ 1991 about the life and work of the German photomontage artist John Heartfield for Granada TV. ‘Hindesight’ 1993 about the life and work of the photographer and postcard producer John Hinde for RTE TV. ‘SIAR 50’ 2005 a film about the origins of Irish Modern Art from the 1960s onwards for the Contemporary Arts Society
The dance film ‘The Area’ 2013 co-directed with choreographer Ríonach Ní Néill of Ciotóg Dance Company and the Machusla Dance Group won the overall Festival Award for best film at Cinedans Film Festival in Amsterdam in March 2014, Best Irish Dance Film Lightmoves Limerick 2014 and Best Dance Documentary Choreoscope Barcelona 2015. ‘The Area’ has screened extensively at international dance film festivals since 2014 including the prestigious Dance On Camera Film Festival at the Lincoln Centre New York and was screened on Catalan TV in April 2021.
Joe’s feature documentary film ‘Fortunes Wheel’ 2015 about the life and legacy of the Fairview lion tamer Bill Stephen’s, won the Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Irish documentary at the Dublin International Film Festival 2015 and received critical acclaim in the press as well as featuring in numerous film festivals it was broadcast on RTE television 2016 and 2017.
Joe completed the history documentary film ‘Barracks Square Estate’ for the 2017 Dublin History Festival with screenings at both the Richmond Barracks Visitor Centre and the IFI cinema in Temple Bar Dublin. In 2021 he completed a short arts film 'Portráidí Criathraigh' co- directed with Rionach Ni Neill and broadcast on TG4.